Gates Testifies He Helped Manafort Fudge Info To Obtain Loans

TPM Illustration. Photo by Getty Images/Mark Wilson

ALEXANDRIA, VA — Rick Gates, Paul Manafort’s former deputy, testified on Tuesday that he helped Manafort provide false information to banks in order to obtain loans.

Gates told the courtroom that Manafort asked Gates to change certain things in order to obtain loans after the Ukraine income dried up in 2014.

“He had requested certain things be changed,” Gates said of his role in the alleged bank fraud.

Prosecutors first presented an email in which Manafort told Gates that he would claim his home in the SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan as a second residence (even though it was a rental property) when applying for a loan at Citizens’ Bank.

“In order to have the maximum benefit, I am claiming Howard St. as a second home. Not an investment property,” Manafort wrote in an email admitted by prosecutors.

Gates said that Manafort told him to get in touch with Philip Ayliff, one of Manafort’s tax accountants, but Gates said he could only reach Cindy LaPorta, another accountant who received immunity to testify last week. Gates said he spoke to LaPorta about listing the property as a residence.

Gates also testified that he helped Manafort provide old documents to Citizen’s Bank in order to hide the fact that Manafort had a mortgage on his Brooklyn property. Gates said that at Manafort’s request, he sent a 2015 insurance policy for the home that did not list a mortgage on the home, even though the more current 2016 insurance policy noted the mortgage.

Finally, before the court recessed for lunch, Gates said that he helped Manafort convert a $1.5 million 2012 loan from Peranova Holdings into income while applying for a loan in 2016. Gates said that he backdated a letter claiming that the loan was forgiven, even though it was not. Previous evidence has indicated that Peranova, a company Gates said Manafort controlled, never loaned Manafort money. Manafort listed the income as a loan in 2012 in order to reduce his taxable income, according to Gates. A letter backdated to 2015 was signed by a member of the law firm that ran Manafort’s Cypriot accounts, Gates said.

Gates will resume his testimony around 1:30 p.m. ET when the jury returns from lunch recess.

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